At the heart of the book is a cycle of poems based on Franz Schubert's Winterreise. Schubert's broken-hearted young man becomes a modern pensioned-off curmudgeon, an anti-romantic for our times. With one foot in the grave and the other in his mouth, the narrator faces loss and the certain expectation of loss with exasperation, anger and caustic irreverence.
Gordon Hodgeon carefully picks his independent way across the frozen landscapes of the twenty-first century, glaciers of the heart, melting ice-caps of the spirit. Winter Breaks is a tribute to the nonconformist conscience, located somewhere between misanthropy and humanism, love and despair, mocking the world in which we live, bearing witness against false and unreliable gods. And when winter - like everything else - breaks down, the melting snows reveal the strength of tested values and convictions, the Horatian virtues of friendship, music, family, poetry, love and a determination to enjoy today - because tomorrow will surely be worse.
”Gordon Hodgeon is a poet with a larger than usual appetite for the possibilities and complexities of English poetry.” — Pete Morgan
”In poems of family and friendship he turns over a northern upbringing and life with a most remarkable tact, lyric gift - and judgement, without ever being judgmental.” — Glyn Hughes
”Gordon Hodgeon reminds us that the voice of the curmudgeon can be grumpy, irreverent and ribald, but can also convey a sense of loss, fierce humour and gentle melancholy.” — Cynthia Fuller